The beauty of a Siberian Husky has captured the hearts of many dog lovers. Those light eyes, and dense coats make them winners any way you look at it. Belonging to the Spitz group, one would never think of them as guard dogs. While leaving those tasks to the Mastiffs, it is undeniable that there is a strong working backbone in the history of the Siberian Husky as well. Having herded Reindeer for over 3000 years, while surviving the harshest of Siberian winters, this is a hardy breed. It is thus not surprising that they are one of the healthiest of dog breeds as well. Over time, the Siberian Husky has developed a strong sense of gentleness and devotion, that makes them loved even more. The Inuit tribes who used this breed for utilitarian and survival needs trained them to pull heavy sledges for great distances over frozen tundra. They are definite survivors.
So with this strong sense of devotion, hardy nature, intelligence and trainability, why can’t they excel at being guide dogs as well? Well they can indeed! Euro Puppy is not new to guide dogs, since we ourselves proudly offer fully-trained Labradors as guide dogs. So it was only natural for us to find it fascinating to think of training a Siberian Husky puppy to be a guide dog as well. We all know Labradors make great guide dogs. That is an undeniable fact. But what traits do Siberian Huskies have, that make them ideal guide dogs and assistance dogs as well?
Well, for one, Siberian Huskies are good with children and it is an important factor when considering having a dog that meets people along the way and is not aggressive or intimidating. They fair well in extreme weather, and this makes them ideal guide dogs for vision-impaired people living in colder climates- like Canada- where Labradors, would just get too cold. Their boundless energy means that they can carry on with tasks untiringly. The fact that they are a healthy breed makes it also ideal. Their hardiness is an important factor, when one thinks of investing in a dog, for many years to come. What about size? Well, Huskies are the right size to fit into tight places, like under tables and are ideal for public transportation as well; sitting next to their owners, when the need arises.
On top of this; Siberian Huskies are extremely intelligent and independent as well, which are both qualities you need in a guide or service dog. According to Kim, a Siberian Husky owner and guide dog trainer: “They need to be able to make up their own minds and be able to learn difficult things like “intelligent disobedience” where if the handler gives the dog a command and it would be dangerous to do it, the dog disobeys. I kept reading about how “stubborn” huskies are, but whenever I read that I was thinking “it’s perfect”! I’m not looking for a dog that will do everything I say without thinking about it!”
Kim is a proud owner of Keisha: a black and white Siberian Husky that is growing into a grand representative of this awesome breed. Led by Kim’s persistent hand and loving voice, Keisha is already mastering commands and will take on learning and mastering guiding tasks and service tasks as well. At Euro Puppy, we will keenly watch the developments of Keisha, who interestingly enough has a name that doesn’t differ much from the other (lesser-) known name for a Siberian Husky: Keshia.